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Poll shows continuing negative feelings toward New York bail reform despite recent changes

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, visits Javits Center COVID-19 Vaccine Site
Sgt. Sebastian Rothwyn
New York National Guard Flickr
Kathy Hochul visits state partners at the Javits Center COVID-19 Vaccine Site in Manhattan, New York, February 10, 2021.

A new poll shows that New Yorkers continue to have strong negative views toward bail reform, despite recent changes enacted by Governor Kathy Hochul.

Nearly 60% of New Yorkers think the state’s bail laws have made crime worse and only a third think the most recent changes will decrease crime. This makes the issue politically potent in the upcoming elections. Larry Levy, dean of the Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, said law and order is still the most dominant issue.

“Particularly independents in the suburbs are unhappy with Governor Hochul, unhappy with the Democratic party, and don’t seem to have been mollified by the recent changes in bail reform,” Levy said.

Earlier this month, Hocul led reluctant Democrats in the state Senate to make a second set of revisions to the bail overhaul of 2019. These changes include directing judges to consider a defendant's history with guns and physical violence.

White swing voters in the suburbs overwhelmingly supported recent amendments to bail laws. Levy said that might be enough to elect a Republican governor, but it’s unlikely to change control of the state Senate.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.